Yellow Creek Loop

Meeteetse, Wyoming

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This hike gives the hiker a good overview of the rugged mountain beauty of the Absaroka Range. However, physical conditioning is essential on this difficult loop. From Kirwin, the trail gently climbs a huge alpine valley under a retreating canopy of subalpine fir and Engelmann spruce. At 1 mile, arrive at a locked cabin and the road’s end. A small sign indicates you are on Trail 443, an excellent footpath, that heads southwest and rapidly climbs above the Wood River. At 1.5 miles, you cross Horse Creek and then immediately climb over an old fence before arriving at the signed junction with Horse Creek Trail at 1.6 miles. Turn right and begin ascending on switchbacks. You climb relentlessly. At 4 miles, cross a headwaters stream of Horse Creek, with the steep walls of the Absaroka Range surrounding you. That little notch to the west-northwest is where you’re headed and is as steep as it looks. The last 0.5 mile is really tough. Finally, at 4.5 miles, you reach an unnamed pass and the Washakie Wilderness boundary at 12,000 feet. The view is phenomenal.

Yellow Creek Loop Professional Review and Guide

"This hike gives the hiker a good overview of the rugged mountain beauty of the Absaroka Range. However, physical conditioning is essential on this difficult loop.

From Kirwin, the trail gently climbs a huge alpine valley under a retreating canopy of subalpine fir and Engelmann spruce. At 1 mile, arrive at a locked cabin and the road’s end. A small sign indicates you are on Trail 443, an excellent footpath, that heads southwest and rapidly climbs above the Wood River. At 1.5 miles, you cross Horse Creek and then immediately climb over an old fence before arriving at the signed junction with Horse Creek Trail at 1.6 miles. Turn right and begin ascending on switchbacks.

You climb relentlessly. At 4 miles, cross a headwaters stream of Horse Creek, with the steep walls of the Absaroka Range surrounding you. That little notch to the west-northwest is where you’re headed and is as steep as it looks. The last 0.5 mile is really tough. Finally, at 4.5 miles, you reach an unnamed pass and the Washakie Wilderness boundary at 12,000 feet. The view is phenomenal."

Activity Type: Backpacking, Hiking
Nearby City: Meeteetse
Distance: 12
Trail Type: Loop/Lollipop
Skill Level: Difficult
Duration: Day hike or backpack
Season: Best June through September
Trailhead Elevation: 9,100 feet
Top Elevation: 12,000 feet
Local Contacts: Shoshone National Forest
Local Maps: USGS Francs Peak, Dunrud Peak
Driving Directions: Directions to Yellow Creek Loop

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May 2018